Edinburgh residents plagued by sewage-flooded gardens in Easter Drylaw Drive 'terrified' of more rain
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Residents plagued by sewage flooding their gardens during heavy rainfall have issued a desperate plea for help, as forecasters warn of possible thundery showers this weekend.
Fed-up residents at five properties on Easter Drylaw Drive have been deluged for years by rainwater, surface water and sewage – up to 4ft deep. They have had seven episodes of flooding over the past few years, which has seen their back gardens fill to knee-high with filthy water, faeces and even needles.
Now they are worried they will be swamped again as forecasters have warned thundery showers will hit the Capital on Saturday, August 12 with lighter showers throughout the weekend. Residents claim Edinburgh council and Scottish Water are not taking them seriously.
One man has lashed out at the council leader, after being told he would step in and help four months ago. But he claims nothing has been done and he has been met with a ‘brick wall of silence’. The dad-of-two said: “We are at our wits end. It’s terrifying when there’s heavy rain and thunderstorms coming. We know it means it could happen again, and the aftermath is just terrible. Some families here have kids.
"The return valve fitted doesn’t stop the flooding. Water has already starting seeping through the bricks and into the basement. I am so angry with the lack of urgency over this. We’re not being taken seriously. Its just dire. A survey has already been carried out by a contractor on behalf of Scottish Water but no works have been done. Cammy Day said he would be out to visit but hasn't bothered. I don’t get response now when I contact his office about it. Just a brick wall of silence. It’s dire. This is our home and we don’t want to feel like we need to move. Scottish Water said the area is not a priority but the council has said it is, yet nothing is being done.”
His home is one of five properties situated at a low point within Easter Drylaw Drive where roads converge Easter Drylaw Avenue and Easter Drylaw Bank. One of the properties has an outlet which proceeds to the rear of the properties but it backs on to the railway and there is an embankment. Once gullies are at capacity and water reaches the very back from the outlet it has nowhere to go so it courses back down into gardens of families.
Residents first reported the problem in the summer of 2019. A letter was issued to households on the street in December, 2022 stating the area didn’t qualify for a “long term capital solution” at the time. The council previously said that their Surface Water Management Plans will identify the most critical areas in the city but stressed there are many affected areas across the city and limited funding.
A Scottish Water spokesperson said; “Scottish Water’s investigations have shown that there is a risk of sewer flooding at this location. This flooding is made worse by surface water run off which is the responsibility of City of Edinburgh Council. We have installed a Non-Return Valve on the sewer serving the properties to help reduce the risk of external garden flooding. We have also written to those affected offering further property level protection to reduce the internal impact from flooding.
"Sewer flooding mitigation projects are prioritised based on the frequency sewer flooding occurs and whether this is internal or external. Our investigation found that these properties do not meet the threshold for investment in a permanent sewer flooding mitigation project. We are committed to working with the City of Edinburgh Council on flooding issues as they become more frequent due to climate change. We are working together to develop a multi-agency, place led approach to sustainably manage drainage and surface water, and create flood resilient communities.”
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “We’re currently developing strategies for the management of flood risk within the context of climate change, in partnership with Scottish Water and SEPA, and Craigleith has been identified as a priority area. As part of this work, we are undertaking a flood study to better understand the cause of the flooding and explore possible alleviation measures which include the use of nature based solutions.
“In the meantime I would encourage people to follow flooding advice on our website to protect their properties.”